Barack Obama’s landslide victory, winning 30 states and 53% of the vote, is not as broad as Ronald Reagan’s victories in 1980 and 1984, but it is deeper, in that the Democratic Party will control both branches of Congress by relatively wide margins, whereas Reagan had to deal with a Democratic Congress for much of his time in office.
Obama’s victory is more akin to Lyndon Johnson’s landslide in 1964, when he brought a slew of Democrats to Congress with him, giving him the mandate to push through a large package of progressive legislation, including Medicare and Medicaid, the health care programs for the elderly and the indigent, and immigration reform.
Johnson won 61% of the popular vote and all but six states — Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina and his home state of Arizona — against Barry Goldwater (Source).
In 1980, Ronald Reagan carried 44 states with 489 electoral votes, compared to 49 for President Jimmy Carter, who won six states and the District of Columbia. But he only received 50.7% of the popular vote, while Carter took 41%, and Independent John B. Anderson (a liberal Republican) received 6.7% (Source).
In 1984, Reagan was re-elected, winning 49 states. Opponent Walter Mondale only won his home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia. He received 58.8% of the popular vote to Mondale’s 40.6% (Source). However, for his entire term Reagan had to work with a Democratic House of Representatives, and the Republicans only controlled the Senate by a narrow margin for part of Reagan’s terms.
Archived Coverage of the 2008 Campaign from My Old Blog
Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House – a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, “We are not enemies, but friends…though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.” And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.
Posted on 11/05/2008 in 2008 Presidential Race
Sarah Palin (via Twitter): “The other side wanted it more and were willing to work harder and smarter for it. That’s America.”
John McCain offered a gracious concession speech:
In a contest as long and difficult as this campaign has been, his success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance. But that he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving.
This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African-Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight.
I’ve always believed that America offers opportunities to all who have the industry and will to seize it. Senator Obama believes that, too. But we both recognize that though we have come a long way from the old injustices that once stained our nation’s reputation and denied some Americans the full blessings of American citizenship, the memory of them still had the power to wound.
A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt’s invitation of Booker T. Washington to visit — to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage in many quarters. America today is a world away from the cruel and prideful bigotry of that time. There is no better evidence of this than the election of an African American to the presidency of the United States. Let there be no reason now — (cheers, applause) — let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth. (Cheers, applause.)
Senator Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and for his country. I applaud him for it, and offer in my sincere sympathy that his beloved grandmother did not live to see this day, though our faith assures us she is at rest in the presence of her creator and so very proud of the good man she helped raise.
Senator Obama and I have had and argued our differences, and he has prevailed. No doubt many of those differences remain. These are difficult times for our country, and I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.
Obama’s four key advisors, on “60 Minutes,” explained their strategy to Steve Kroft in an interview at 1 am after the election. (Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs attended North Carolina State University and his parents live in Apex):
Obama explains how one citizen’s voice in Greenwood, SC made a difference to him on an early day in the January primary campaign:
Former Reagan Chief of Staff Ken Duberstein is now for Obama, along with former Republican Senators Larry Pressler and Mac Mathias. Other Republicans for Obama, according to “The Moderate Voice” website, include:
Plus, former Bush spokesman Scott McClellan.
Newspaper endorsements in 2004 were almost equally divided between George W. Bush and John Kerry, and historically, since 1940, newspapers haveendorsed a lot more Republican presidential candidates. That is not the case this year. An overwhelming number have endorsed Barack Obama. But I’m curious about the publications endorsing McCain, the case they make and the positive reasons they give, other than fear of Obama. (My basic view is that you can’t beat somebody with nobody, and voting AGAINST rarely carries the day.)
The Arizona Republic, boasting that the people of McCain’s home state know him better than anybody else, calls him a statesman, and says that if McCain as president does nothing but protect the Bush tax cuts, that will be enough. They also praise him for his consistent support for free trade. Reading between the lines, however, the endorsement from McCain’s home paper is modest.
Another well-written endorsement of McCain comes from Cincinnati.com: McCain Brings Character, Courage, Experience. Excerpt: (McCain) “would cut the nation’s corporate tax rate, now the second highest in the world, to help keep jobs here. Obama would increase taxes on Americans making over $250,000, which includes small businesses that create most of the nation’s new jobs, since 90 percent of small businesses file as individuals. Obama says only 2 percent of small businesses would be affected, but that 2 percent represents the largest such businesses, accounting for 56 percent of all small-business income and employing 16 million people.” McCain would be able to block harmful Democratic proposals such as a union card-check proposal, elimination of limits on lawsuits that Obama would support, according to the editorial.
Most of the editorials I’ve seen endorsing McCain emphasize his experience, but that, to me, is negated by his poor judgment in supporting the invasion and occupation of Iraq and his longstanding opposition to regulation of the financial and insurance markets. Editorials also praise the character he displayed during his years as a prisoner of war. But to me, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he has the temperament to be president. McCain’s impulsive choice of Sarah Palin, without properly vetting her, does not elicit confidence in his decision-making process. See the humorous video, “the vet who did not vet.”
Shockingly, doing a search of newspaper endorsements on McCain’s website, I can’t find any others that the McCain campaign has trumpeted for the general election, though other newspaper endorsements of McCain can be found on Google.
If you find compelling endorsements of McCain, post the links below.
- “What’s a Perverse Voter To Do?” Why Liberals Should Vote for McCain — to Advance a Liberal Agenda, by Jonathan Reich, National Journal
- John McCain, Socialist (Comedy Central)
In Riverside, CA, an official Republican Party flier from the Chaffey Community Republican Women contained the above illustration — Barack Obama’s image on food stamps, surrounded by fried chicken, ribs, watermelon, and Cool-aid.
In Eastern Ohio, at a Sarah Palin rally, supporters describe what they don’t like about Barack Obama, with comments like:
“I’m afraid if he wins, the black [sic] will take over. He’s not a Christian! This is a Christian nation! What is our country gonna end up like?”
“When you got a Negro running for president, you need a first stringer. He’s definitely a second stringer.”
“Obama and his wife, I’m concerned that they could be anti-white. That he might hide that.”
Full Transcript here.
Direct Link: Click Here
In Gibsonville, NC, a parking lot owner declares that Obama supporters are unwelcome to park in his lot. CNN reports.
In Virginia, an African-American, a veteran, finds his Obama sign removed andreplaced with a confederate flag.
In New Mexico, the chairman of an Otero County Republican women’s groupdeclared in a letter to the editor that Obama is a “Muslim socialist” and “Muslims are our enemies.”
Of course one can argue that these are isolated incidents of racism, and not representative of the Republican Party as a whole. But far too many Republicans are tolerant of racism. Indeed, a lot of Republican men seem to believe that discrimination against white men is a big enough problem that politicians should take up the cause.
The difference this year as that most white Americans don’t buy this crappola anymore.
If Obama wins, my hope is that racist thinking and fear of him as “the other” will die a natural death. But I suppose that depends on how he does, whether he’s able to improve the economic fortunes of average Americans and protect the nation from terrorist attacks. Racism feeds on fear.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22425001/vp/26908764#26908764Direct link.John McCain’s promise to place an arbitrary spending freeze on government spending and to slash the federal budget as private sector unemployment grows is not reassuring. Asked which of his plans he might scale back due to the financial crisis, Sen. McCain at the first debate said he’d probably impose a spending freeze on all federal government programs except defense, veterans affairs and entitlements such as Social Security pension payments and Medicare insurance for the elderly. He also promised to scrutinize the federal budget,eliminate congressional earmarks, and propose deep cuts in spending.Obama retorted: “The problems with a spending freeze is that you’re using ahatchet when you need a scalpel.”Indeed, McCain’s comment reinforces the impression he’s impulsive, careless and imprecise.
The conservative Wall Street Journal and conservative columnist George Will raise serious doubts about John McCain’s temperament and knowledge of the economy. WSJ: “John McCain has made it clear this week he doesn’t understand what’s happening on Wall Street any better than Barack Obama does.”
“The more one sees of his impulsive, intensely personal reactions to people and events,” Will writes, “the less confidence one has that he would select judges by calm reflection and clear principles, having neither patience nor aptitude for either.” Will is generally a reliable supporter of Republican presidential candidates, even helping Ronald Reagan prepare for debate.
With this kind of coverage from conservative opinion-shapers, I’d say McCain is toast.
Saturday Night Live and Comedy Central are apparently quite politically powerful.
AndrewSullivan.com: Sarah Palin has seen a staggering 21-point decline in popularity in ONE WEEK, according to several polls, as a result of what Sullivan calls “an historically unprecedented campaign of seclusion, press intimidation and constant lies.”
I think Sullivan goes a bit over the top in his constant criticisms of Palin. He calls it scrutiny and vetting that McCain failed to do. I don’t have anything against her — she’s beautiful and charming — but she seems to know far less about foreign policy than your average vice presidential candidate.
I find it amazing that so much hype has been generated over a mere VP candidate — with reports that a lot of people supposedly supporting McCain ONLY BECAUSE THEY LIKE HER. But that is proving to just be hype. Historically, vice presidential candidates rarely, single-handedlly turn elections one way or another. I doubt it’ll be different this year.
Bill Maher’s HBO show: Palin: Bush in Drag? (Video)
- Comedy Central: Vagina-Americans for McCain-Palin
John Kennedy won in 1960, Bill Clinton won in 1992, and Ronald Reagan won in 1980 not simply because they effectively criticized economic policies of the incumbent presidential administration, painting a pessimistic picture of current conditions. Yes, they highlighted joblessness and economic insecurity, but they won elections because they offered an economic vision, persuaded the American people that they could lead the country economically with confidence and vigor, and help the nation TURN THE CORNER to better times.
That’s the task of the Obama campaign. He started to do that in a speech in Colorado on September 16, but it’s not easily boiled down into sound bites. The two-minute video ad above hits the nail on the head. Mr. Obama, as you campaign, don’t just tell us how bad things are with Bush-McCain. We know that. Give us a vision for how much better the nation’s economy will be with Obama-Biden in charge.
Citizens who are paying attention realize (though they may not quite trust) that Obama wants to give a tax cut to 95 percent of American workers, those making $250,000 or less, and that McCain is prevaricating when he says Obama offers nothing but across-the-board tax hikes. Most voters probably know that a Democratic government is likely to regulate and scrutinize financial markets more closely than a Republican government. But Obama’s economic vision, for most voters, needs to be fleshed out day after day from now until the election. That’s how he’ll close the deal.
The ability of the Obama campaign to inspire confidence in his economic vision and leadership may determine whether he’s president in 2009 or faces the ignominy of blowing an election he should have won worse than Michael Dukakis did in 1988.
In exploring Obama’s economic policies and advisors online, I found these links most helpful:
- In July, Obama held summit with top economic advisors (BBC NEWS). Those advisors include former Clinton advisor Laura Tyson, conservative Democratic economist Jason Furman, former Clinton Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers, former US Labor Secretary Robert Reich, former Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, “who fell out with the President over the cost of the Iraq war, and Paul Volker, the chairman of the Federal Reserve before Alan Greenspan, who famously clashed with Ronald Reagan over supply side economics and the budget deficit.”
Other people attending the summit were Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorganChase and business investorWarren Buffett, the richest man in the US, as well as trade union leaders John Sweeney of the AFL-CIO and SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger.
- “Obama-nomics: Economic Policy in an Obama Presidency” (PBS NEWS HOUR). 10-minute video follows Laura Tyson as she walks around a Denver neighborhood with Economics Reporter Paul Solman. Transcript also available. Report examines Obama’s middle class tax cuts, tax credits for child care, expansions of Headstart. Obama says he will phase in health care reform, with a first step to simply cover all kids under 18.
- Obama seeks to “fast track a plan for energy ‘made-in-America’ that will free us from our dependence on mid-east oil in 10 years,” and in the process create five million “green collar” jobs that can’t be exported overseas. LA TIMES analysis.
- Obama’s Economic Plan
Obama in the Lion’s Den: He Scores, Persuades As Fox’s Bill O’Reilly Interrupts and Tries to Bully Him
McLatchy calls foul on McCain’s ad claiming Obama favors explicit sex ed for kindergarteners. Washington Post awards McCain campaign “two Pinnochios” for distortions of Obama’s tax proposals. Obama will not raise taxes on 95% of Americans, on anyone making $250,000 or less. Gaps Exist Between Tax Positions, Perceptions (Washington Post). FactCheck.org takes the McCain-Palen campaign to task for claiming falsely that Obama smeared them. And even Fox’s Bill O’Reilly says the McCain campaign’s charge that Obama called Palin a “pig” a silly distortion. A Washington Post editorial rightly calls McCain out for lowering the campaign’s debate.
Meanwhile, Sarah Palin falsely claimed that she opposed the “bridge to nowhere,” when she was an early supporter of it. “The whole story of Ms. Palin’s alleged heroic stand against wasteful spending is fiction,” writes NYTIMES columnist Paul Krugman in “Blizzard of Lies.”
Can McCain Triangulate His Way to the Presidency?
Recognizing that a full-fledged conservative Republican would have no chance to win this year, John McCain is running as a “maverick,” taking a page from the Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton playbooks, to “triangulate” as ideologically independent of his party’s congressional base AND the incumbent Republican President, George W. Bush.
Just as the Clinton administration was an intellectual product of the Democratic Leadership Council, a McCain administration might be an intellectual product of the newly formed Republican Leadership Council, founded by Senator John Danforth, former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele, and former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman. The DLC was formed in 1988 after Michael Dukakis’ loss to George H.W. Bush, and helped Clinton fashion a moderate agenda to win in 1992. See my piece, “How Clinton Won in 1992,” by learning from the mistakes of Carter, Dukakis, Mondale, learned to triangulate or play against liberal Democrats in Congress and move to the center.
McCain’s problem is that the very new RLC isn’t nearly as embedded in the Republican Party of 2008 as the DLC was in the Democratic Party of 1992. Whitman resigned as head
of the Environmental Protection Agency in the Bush administration because she was too friendly to environments in an administration that favored industrialists over environmentalists. She was in particular conflict with Vice President Cheney’s insistence on easy air pollution controls. Steele lost his election for the U.S. Senate, and Danforth has retired from the Senate. Unlike the DLC, the RLC has few elected officials behind it. Maybe in two or four years, after a defeat at the polls in November, the RLC will have significant power in the Republican Party.
Former Bush speechwriter and Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson hit the nail on the head in his critique of McCain’s acceptance speech as too conventional, and offering no new ideas. “John McCain is a hero who has laid claim to the mantle of reform. Some actual and unexpected reform would help his case,” Gerson observed.
Look at the areas where McCain disagrees with many if not most Republicans. He joined with Ted Kennedy to propose that illegal immigrants be given a path to citizenship. He joined with Al Gore to declare that global warming is at least partially man-made, and that a “cap-and-trade” bill is essential to address the problem. He joined with Russ Feingold to enact campaign finance reform, reviled by many conservatives. He opposed the Bush tax cuts before he ran for president, when he changed his mind and supported them. He only half-heartedly opposes abortion, saying he’d leave the choice to his daughter.
Will these positions make him popular with the base of his party once elected, or will they almost immediately express their discontent and desire for another leader?
Another problem for McCain is that during the primaries, he boasted that he supported the Bush administration 90 percent of the time. It’s hard to now turn around and campaign as “the candidate of change” when you’ve done that.
Here’s Obama’s ad casting doubt on McCain’s attempt to portray himself as a maverick and candidate of change.
This retired marine, who lost his arm in Iraq, supports Obama:
Direct Link.Lots more Iraq veterans for Obama.
Pam Cash-Roper of Pittsboro, NC, a Republican, Spoke at the Democratic Convention and Explained Why She’s Voting for Obama
In prime time, five “regular” Americans spoke at the Democratic Convention. By far the best of the five, in my humble opinion, was Pamela Cash-Roper, a retired nurse from Chatham County, Pittsboro, NC. (And I’m not just saying that because I’m a resident of Chatham County.)
Ron Moore writes…
Despite some early doubts about Sarah Palin’s launch into the national spotlight, she brought a breath of fresh air to the Republican convention in her vice presidential acceptance speech. Her presentation was fine — no Dan-Quayle-“dear-in-the-headlights” moment or lack of preparation on her big day. She showed great self-confidence and poise. Grade: A. Her selection renews John McCain’s reputation as a maverick, and proves that the male-dominated GOP “good-ole-boy” network will soon be a thing of the past. It’s wonderful that in this election cycle, we’ll break at least one glass ceiling, and open wider the doors of opportunity no matter who is elected.
I’m curious what the sexists who shouted “Iron My Shirt” at Hillary Clinton, who asked McCain “how do we beat the bitch?” who joined a Facebook group, “Hillary: Stop Running for President and Make Me a Sandwich,” who contributed to a 527 group, C.U.N.T. to “educate the public on what Hillary Clinton Really Is” are saying now. I wonder what Rush Limbaugh, who asked of Hillary, “Will this country want to actually watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis?” is saying now.
Hillary’s pioneering run for president made Sarah Palin’s selection for vice president this year possible.
Hopefully, sexism has just now been marginalized and thrown on the scrapheap of history.
- McCain’s Choice of Palin Was An Exercise in Condescension, by Judith Warner, NYTIMES.
- Is Gender More of a Barrier to the Presidency Than Race?
- Sexists Against Hillary
- Pick of Palin Highlights Republican Opposition to Teen Pregnancy Prevention
- Behind Palin’s Talk, Some Things Don’t Add Up (Associated Press)
In 2004, Republicans trumpeted the diversity of their delegates — an estimated 70 percent increase among minority delegates from 2000. But this year, with Barack Obama on the ballot, the GOP has little hope of winning minority votes, so their convention is back to overwhelmingly white, a 75 percent drop in the number of minority delegates. Surely, delegate selection in the GOP is not based on symbolism, quotas or appearances.
- Boasting 70% Increase in Racial, Ethnic Diversity Since 2000, Republicans Accede to Self-Conscious Racial Representation
- In a More Diverse America, a Mostly White Convention (Washington Post)
i’ve noted the many Republicans for Obama. It’s only fair to note Democrats for McCain, especially given Joe Lieberman’s speech before the RNC. One key to the election may be the number of cross-over voters. There were probably more Democrats who supported Bush in 2004 than there were Republicans who supported Kerry. So cross-over appeal is important.
I like to listen to people I know who I deem “swing voters.” My octogenarian mother-in-law is not a fan of Obama, but McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin for vice president has put my mo-in-law firmly in Obama’s camp. McCain’s choice of Palin, she said, was “terrible.” She thinks a woman with fIve children, one of them Down Syndrome, and with an expectant teenage daughter, ought not to be gallivanting all over the country running for vice president and preaching “family values” to others.
Older voters like my mother-in-law, who’ve expressed concern about Obama’s lack of experience, are not reassured by the choice of Alaska Governor Palin, who just 19 months ago was the mayor of a town of 7,000 people.
About one-third of girls in the United States get pregnant before age 20,according to the Centers for Disease Control. Here in North Carolina, about 60 percent of high school teens engage in premarital sex. Legislators are debatingthe effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of abstinence-only sex education. Onestudy by Rebecca Bach of Duke University indicates that “counties in which Abstinence-plus programs are used have experienced a greater decline [in teen pregnancy rates] than counties utilizing the Abstinence-only curriculum.”
In the Senate, John McCain opposed teen pregnancy prevention funding,according to the Associated Press, and Gov. Palin cut funding for teen moms. The Republican Party platform states that the “solution” to this epidemic is simply for all teens to abstain from sex. Teens should not be given access to birth control, and abortion should be outlawed. But a prime example of the failure of this public policy position is the family of the vice presidential nominee. One can only conclude that the practical impact of the Republican Party position is to INCREASE the number of children born to teenagers. I do not see this as good for families or good for society. Do you?
- Pro-life and Pro-Choice Advocates Should Seek Common Ground
- Neither Scare Tactics Nor Denial Are Solution to High Teen Pregnancy Rates in U.S.
- Life Begins At Conception, a ‘Culture of Life’ Must Be Promoted, But the Death Penalty is a Good Idea
- Basic Incompetence from McCain (Andrew Sullivan)
- Obama’s Experience Includes Beating the Clintons, by David Frum
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22425001/vp/26447607#26447607A couple of arch-conservatives (Pat Buchanan on MSNBC and Sam Spagnola, aGreensboro blogger I read) gave Obama’s acceptance speech an A+. I didn’t think it was THAT good. Some good lines, some good specifics, but I felt I had heard the close before. Too general. I’d give it a B+ or A-.I was watching the speech with an 85-year-old relative who tends to vote Democrat — loves the Clintons — but threatened a few months ago to vote against Obama because “he’s not white.” (She may have been pulling my chain when she said that.) She said “this is not a good speech…it’s disjointed.” But she acknowledged she could feel that way because five of us were talking during it. I tried to shush the group up, saying “LISTEN. THIS IS HISTORIC.” My 11-year-old stayed up late to watch the first part of it.
She thought the speeches of Bill and Hillary were better. She asked me in a disapproving tone, “What do you think of Michelle?”
My response: “She’s AWFULLY DARK SKINNED, isn’t she?” She did laugh at my dig at her prejudice. I think Michelle is great, I said — beautiful.
I think she will grudgingly vote for Obama.
My bro-in-law is a Republican, and it was interesting to hear his critiques. I said if I were advising McCain, I’d proclaim the war in Iraq a great success, I’d say the economy is good, and the Democrats are a bunch of whiners, belly-achers, nervous nellies, pessimists, and negative thinkers. He agreed that’s the strategy they should take.
I don’t think it will work, though — Obama is an OPTIMIST. His message is so positive. I predict Obama will win with at least 52% of the vote, maybe more.
I hear that McCain is struggling to get 10,000 people for a rally in Ohio, while Obama had to turn people away after the stadium in Denver filled at approximately 80,000….Democrats need to be wary of over-confidence. I will be surprised if Obama wins in a rout.
Al Gore: “A century and a half ago, when America faced our greatest trial, the end of one era gave way to the birth of another. The candidate who emerged victorious in that election is now regarded by most historians as our greatest president. Before he entered the White House, Abraham Lincoln’s experience in elective office consisted of eight years in his state legislature in Springfield, Illinois, and one term in Congress – during which he showed the courage and wisdom to oppose the invasion of another country that was popular when it started but later condemned by history. The experience Lincoln’s supporters valued most in that race was his powerful ability to inspire hope in the future at a time of impasse. He was known chiefly as a clear thinker and a great orator, with a passion for justice and a determination to heal the deep divisions of land. He insisted on reaching past partisan and regional divides to exalt our common humanity. In 2008, once again, we find ourselves at the end of an era with a mandate from history to launch another new beginning. And once again, we have a candidate whose experience perfectly matches an extraordinary moment of transition.” Read the whole thing.
It occurs to me that many white Americans are probably uncomfortable when they see a black man getting angry or aggressive or “hot” — and if Obama shows shouting passion, that may scare off some undecided white folks. His demeanor — cool, judicious, above-the-fray, “objective” — is probably studied, and his choice of Joe Biden allows a member of his team to be passionate, angry, aggressive, hot.
I would also advise Obama to, as much as possible, avoid any emphasis on African American grievances. While articles like this in the NC Independent Weekly appeal to people like me:
White denial: What’s wrong with Obama? Not much that I can see, not compared to what’s wrong with you if you think his election is a threatening proposition. By Hal Crowther
Blacks Debate Civil Rights Risk in Obama’s Rise: Some black voters wonder if Barack Obama’s success will further the notion that the long struggle for racial equality has been won.
Videos of Biden Reveal Gravitas on Foreign Policy, Demonstrate that Bush Has Made U.S. and Israel Less Safe, Effectively Defends Obama
Joe Biden, Obama’s choice for vice president, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has repeatedly demonstrated his gravitas on Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan, and the differences between Obama and McCain. On CNN in July:
He’s also aggressive in pointing out the “outrageous” and “ridiculous” accusations by Bush that Obama is an “appeaser,” and Bush’s counter-productive saber-rattling. Bush has made Israel and the U.S. more vulnerable, Biden points out.
Warren Coates calls himself a “Barry Goldwater Republican.” But he’s “disenchanted with the statist, utopian and negligent conservatism of the Bush years,” and as Andrew Sullivan reports, “he’s ready to give the Dems a shot. The conservative failure has been so deep and its consequences so dire that a new start is needed. Coates believes, as I do, that it will not be the end of the world for free market conservatives if Obama wins. It wasn’t when Clinton won….The much bigger issues of a return to constitutional norms, to a realist and prudent foreign policy, a return to the Geneva Conventions, a restoration of America’s reputation in the world, and a rebuke of the Morris-Rove politicking of the past generation compel me more.”
Meanwhile, former Congressman Jim Leach (R-Iowa), who voted for Clinton’s impeachment and investigated Whitewater, now says of Barack Obama: “I have no doubt that his is the leadership we need and that the world is crying out for.”
And Rita Hauser, a New York Republican and international lawyer, says John McCain is “too belicose on Georia.” She was also strongly opposed to the Iraq war, and is therefore endorsing Obama.
Rumors abound that Colin Powell will also be endorsing Obama.
Here’s my reaction to the presidential candidates’ tax plan face-off: When presidential candidates make promises about how they’ll cut taxes, balance the budget and increase spending for this and that, I’m skeptical. On the campaign trail, they’re almost always overly optimistic about revenue, generally underestimate the cost of programs, and grossly exaggerate the likelihood of balancing the budget. They’re blowing blue smoke and using trick mirrors.
John McCain, who voted against the Bush tax cuts in 2001, “warning that they were tilted toward the rich and were not offset by enough spending cuts,” (source) now says he’s for them. But he also claims to be a fiscal conservative, a “deficit hawk” who will balance the budget by 2013. I don’t think you can have it both ways. Who really knows what McCain will actually do in office once he is presented with budget realities? He’ll have an impossible task, trying to please two opposing constituencies in the Republican Party, tax cutters and deficit hawks.
The Democratic Party is not as divided between the tax cutters and deficit hawks. Barack Obama says he’ll eliminate the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, and use the savings to launch a national health insurance program, among others. He also says he’ll cut taxes on middle class Americans, those making $250,000 and less, and impose “pay-as-you-go” fiscal discipline on Congress, though to his credit he makes no vacuous claims that he will balance the budget by 2013. I don’t think he can do it all, and wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the deficit increase significantly in his first presidential term, just as I think it would increase significantly in McCain’s first term if he refused to rollback the Bush tax cuts.
No matter who is the next president, I think we’ll see some rollback of the Bush tax cuts, and some relief for middle-class taxpayers given the hardships they now face from rapidly rising energy prices and related inflation.
Some conservatives charge that Obama will raise capital gains taxes to 28 percent from the current 15 percent, essentially a tax increase on 100 million middle class Americans who own stock. I doubt it. Given the financial hardships that middle class Americans are experiencing now, any pol who significantly raised middle class taxes would face harsh political retribution.
Outside of some basic generalities, I don’t put a lot of stock in what presidential candidates say on the campaign trail about taxes, certainly not in the details. For one thing, Congress, not the president, sets tax rates after a lot of negotiation and trade-offs, depending on the fiscal climate at the time. Congress is then immediately accountable to the electorate for decisions about taxes in the next mid-term elections.
For another thing, fiscal realities change, and presidents change their positions when faced with new economic realities.
Reagan cut taxes in ‘81, then raised them in ‘86. The Reagan tax cuts were accompanied by slashes in federal money to the states, which caused many states to raise taxes. Tax relief the feds gave taxpayers with one hand, the states took away with the other hand.
George H.W. Bush declared “read my lips, no new taxes,” then signed a significant tax increase as president, infuriating his conservative base and jeopardizing his re-election in 1992.
Is George W. Bush, with his budget-busting spending and tax cuts, a “fiscal conservative”? I don’t think so. By most measures, both Clinton and Carter were more fiscally conservative than GWB. As a result, I don’t think Republicans this year will be able to effectively pin the “tax and spend, fiscally irresponsible” label on Obama. That would surely be the pot calling the kettle black.
After Hillary Clinton’s strong endorsement of Barack Obama, he has taken a 48-42 percent lead over John McCain, according to the Gallup Poll. Obama tied with McCain just a week earlier. Ten percent of the electorate is undecided. If the undecideds break evenly, that would give Obama a 53%-47% win over McCain.
The vast majority of voters say race will not be a factor in their choice of presidential candidates — I hope they are telling the truth to the pollsters.
Significantly, in 2004, George W. Bush NEVER TRAILED John Kerry in the NBC/WSJ polls, the way McCain trails Obama by six points now. And Bush’s lead in 2004 was never more than four points.
To win, Republicans are going to have to raise doubts about Obama, and will throw everything at him, including the kitchen sink, which will be a lot dirtier than what Hillary threw at him. McCain himself says he wants to run a clean, uplifting campaign, but his surrogates do not have such compunction.
Thirty percent of voters say they haven’t made up their minds about who to support and could change their mind several times before election day.
I don’t think the “inexperienced” argument will work unless Obama makes rookie mistakes between now and November that reinforce doubts. Obama can argue that though he may not be the most experienced candidate, he has BETTER JUDGMENT, as indicated by his early opposition to the war in Iraq. That argument worked against Hillary Clinton.
A June 12 Rasmussen poll of likely NC voters shows John McCain “continuing to struggle in the traditionally Republican state of North Carolina.” He earns45% of the vote while Barack Obama attracts 43% support. In May, McCain held a three point lead over Obama in NC.
If Obama can maintain his national lead, and end with 54% of the vote or more on election day, North Carolina could be in play. Bush won the 2004 election with 50.7% of the vote, but he won North Carolina with 56.02% of the vote, or 1.96 million votes; and did as well percentage-wise in NC in 2000, winning 1.6 million votes. Bush’s popularity is down to 40% in North Carolina, compared to 29% nationally. If Obama were running against Bush, he could probably beat him in NC.
But Obama would probably have to win a national landslide of 55% or more to take North Carolina. If there is a huge increase in Democratic turnout — say, 10% — and low Republican turnout, or substantially more than 10 percent of normally Republican voters support Obama, it’s possible.
But if Republican operatives are successful at raising serious doubts about Obama that overshadow doubts about McCain in the minds of Republican and Independent voters, I’d imagine McCain would take NC.
Kicking off the general election campaign in Raleigh, Barack Obama was introduced by Pamella Cash-Roper of Pittsboro, NC, who described herself as a lifelong Republican. A 54-year-old licensed nurse, she and her husband are now unemployed after both had heart surgery and have been unable to work. As Rob Christensen of the N&O reports:
Cash-Roper said she was forced to cash out her 401(k) plan, forgo some medicines and be careful about the automobile trips she has to make.
She had turned to the government for help, “but help was nowhere to be seen,” she’s quoted in The New York Times. “I am a lifelong Republican who believes in the creed that if you work hard, you can make ends meet,” Cash-Roper said. “[But] we found ourselves buried in medical expenses to the point where we almost filed bankruptcy.” (source) She said she supported Mr. Obama because he had been working for “hard-working Americans like us for more than two decades.”
Bob Geary of the NC Independent Interviewed her after the speech and adds some details to her powerful story.
Cash-Roper said her 58-year-old husband, Keith Roper, who was an electrical technician at WakeMed, needed heart surgery in 2000 and couldn’t work thereafter. He lost his job and their company-paid health benefits; and though federal law guaranteed him extended health insurance for 18 months, they couldn’t afford the $600 a month insurance payments on top of the $1,800 a month for his prescriptions.
Meanwhile, Cash-Roper said, they were dropped by their disability insurance carrier, a decision they continue to dispute, so far, unsuccessfully. So they sold their house, moved to a smaller one and went without health insurance for two years until he became eligible, as a Social Security disability recipient, for Medicare.
A nurse, Cash-Roper continued to work as a home-health aide until 2005 when she, too, needed bypass surgery and also turned to disability payments.
Today, she said, the two live on combined disability payments of $1,164 a month. Each takes about 15 kinds of medicine paid for by a state prescription-subsidy plan enacted during the Easley administration and paid for from tobacco-settlement funds funneled through the Health & Wellness Trust Fund.
It cuts their costs to between $2 and $4 a month for each prescription, she said. “If that had not been implemented,” she said, “we’d probably both be dead.”
Obama Has More Appeal to Republicans Than McCain Does to Democrats
Fox News/Washington Times/Rasmussen polls tend to slant Republican, buttheir poll taken just days after Obama clinched the nomination (before Hillary offered her stellar endorsement of Obama), does not portend well for the GOP. “Asked whether they will vote for the Democratic nominee, 83 percent of Democrats said they will “definitely” or “probably” vote for Mr. Obama, and only 6 percent said they will probably or definitely vote for the Arizona senator.” In contrast, among Republicans, 75 percent “said they will definitely or probably vote for Mr. McCain, but 15 percent said they would definitely or probably vote for Mr. Obama.” (Hat tip to AndrewSullivan.com)
Dorothy King, a conservative and an archaeologist, has compiled a list of “Obamacans” — prominent Republicans who support Obama, with links to their provocative essays. She calls Andrew Sullivan “the crown prince of the movement.” His Atlantic Monthly articles and daily blog are an enthusiastic mainstay of Obamacans.
In essence, the conservatives who support Obama think the invasion and occupation of Iraq was by no means a conservative action, and it’s time for the U.S. to leave. Libertarian conservatives would like to see a rollback of the Patriot Act, and figure Obama will be more protective of the civil liberties of citizens than McCain will be. Some conservatives think Obama will phase out affirmative action based on race (he said his two daughters didn’t need it), and that he might support vouchers for private schools in inner city neighborhoods, and that his election will mean the end of identity politics.
Some conservatives also dislike the huge growth in the size of the federal government over the last eight years, and think Obama could certainly be no worse than Bush in that regard. They don’t like McCain’s positions on global warming (he supports the Lieberman-Warner “cap and trade” bill to limit carbon emissions), campaign finance reform (he authored the bill on regulation), immigration (he favors a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants), or his waffling on domestic oil drilling, and they don’t think he’ll do anything to ban same-sex marriages. Since McCain has “sold out” on so many conservative issues, this thinking goes, why not let the liberals have the government for four years to give real conservatives a chance to regroup and recoup?
Doug Kmeic, a former constitutional legal counsel to two Republican presidents, endorsed Obama, pointing out that Obama’s position on abortionemphasizes personal responsibility, “rather than legal bickering over potential Supreme Court nominations.” In Kmeic’s judgment, Obama’s position “best moves this issue forward.” Kmeic was denied communion at a Catholic church because of his support of Obama. He admits that a good part of his enchantment with Obama has to do with his disenchantment with the Republican Party:
Taking a leave of absence from my GOP home was not my first choice. As Ronald Reagan said, he didn’t leave the Democratic Party; it left him. I feel the GOP left me…
In too many ways, the present administration was the most fiscally irresponsible of our lifetime, prayed aloud but ignored the teachings of faith to seek peace and pursue war only when warranted and, in so doing, jeopardized the well-being of every family in America.
Among prominent Republicans for Obama are Susan Eisenhower, President Dwight Eisenhower’s granddaughter, and Julie Nixon Eisenhower, daughter of Richard Nixon, who quietly contributed the maximum $2000 to Obama.
The only prominent Democrat for McCain at this stage that I’m aware of is Joe Lieberman.
New York Times columnist Frank Rich points out that both the economic adviser to Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America, Lawrence Hunter, and the neocon historian Francis Fukuyama, are supporting Obama. He writes:
The Hill reported that at least 14 Republican members of Congress have refused to endorse or publicly support McCain. Congressional Quarterly found that of the 62,800 donors who maxed out to Mr. Bush’s campaign in 2004, only about 5,000 (some 8 percent) have contributed to his putative successor.
John Martin, a Navy reservist who served time in Iraq and Afghanistan, is founder of the website Republicans for Obama. Here are the issues this group focuses on, suggesting that Obama offers better solutions than John McCain.
Bruce Bartlett, author of “Imposter: How Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy,” has written an article about Obama’s conservative credentials. The article quotes Edmund Burke’s definition of conservatism: “In his view of history, in his respect for tradition, in his skepticism that the world can be changed any way but very, very slowly, Obama is deeply conservative.”